10 Things You Need to Know About Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a great (FREE!) way to be proactive about your website.

When you get everything from a little help indexing your website to crawl stats to errors to keywords and impressions, Google helps give you just a little more insight to how they see your site.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Google Search Console.

1. You must add your property.

Want to get your website indexed faster? Or simply be aware of errors or crawl stats on your site? First thing you need to know about GSC: you’ll have add your website.

Google makes it (relatively) easy to install Google Search Console. You have a number of options, which does make it relatively simple. First, you have the choice of a domain (important if you use a number of subdomains).

The domain property type requires DNS verification

…whereas the URL prefix option gives you a wide variety of choices, including: HTML file upload, HTML tag, Google Analytics code (my personal favorite!), Google Tag Manager, and Domain name provider.

2. Find out if your site is indexed.

While you can also do a site:[yourwebsite.com] command in a Google search to see if your website is indexed, why not also use Google Search Console?

You’ll be able to see a running tally of how many of your site’s pages are indexed, according to Google. You’ll find this under Index > Coverage.

3. Find errors here first.

This is one of the most valuable reasons to use Google Search Console: find errors here first before hearing about them from site visitors.

Review your account early each month when you get a monthly report regarding the status of your site. For the really important error issues, Search Console will email you directly as they occur.

Again, under Index > Coverage, you can see errors occurring on your website.

4. Submit your sitemap.

Your sitemap is a valuable way for search engines to confirm that they know about all of the pages on your website. Even though you can see exactly what pages are indexed (see above), submitting your sitemap is an easy way to double check that all pages are indexed. You’ll be able to add your sitemap in the – you guessed it – Sitemaps section.

5. View your search engine rankings.

Perhaps the best part about Google Search Console? An up-close look at what keywords you’re ranking for and how many people are clicking on your site as a result.

Under the Performance section, you’ll see this invaluable data, including total clicks, total impressions (how often visitors saw your search result), average CTR (click through rate or clicks/impressions), and average position (ranking).

Below this graph, you get what you came for: all of the search terms that you’re ranking for, along with all the powerful stats you saw above.

But it doesn’t end there. Peek up at the top of that last image and you’ll see a ton of different tabs.

Not only will you see the general queries your site is ranking for, but you can also see rankings by page (extremely powerful when trying to get data on a page-by-page basis), country, device, appearance, and even date.

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6. Remove a URL.

Have a page that you no longer want indexed? Add it to your robots.txt file, but then add it under Removals to request Google quickly removes it from their index.

This tool is helpful for error pages that don’t exist or private content that should be hidden from the search engines, such as content behind a login page.

7. Find out who’s linking to you.

While incoming link data is slightly more accurate (and thorough) through a service like Moz’s Link Explorer, Google Search Console gives you a great place to start.

Under Links, you can get an idea of what websites are linking to yours, along with your internal site linking.

8. Disavow spammy links.

Speaking of incoming links, there may be situations where you have a particularly spammy looking website linking to yours.

Since part of the way Google evaluates where your website should be ranked includes the value of the websites linking to yours, it stands to reason that you don’t want spammy links pointing at you.

To disavow, go here and follow these instructions.

9. Improve mobile usability.

It’s no secret that good mobile usability will help your search rankings and Google Search Console gives you the insights you need to improve any mobile usability issues under the Mobile Usability section.

10. View your core web vitals data.

A new ranking factor expected in 2021, core web vitals is essentially meant to measure real world usability. Factors like site speed, site stability, interactivity will join other metrics in Google’s algorithm to help assess the user’s experience.

The Core Web Vitals section in Google Search Console gives you a sense of which pages are performing poorly, need improvement, and those that are doing well. In other words, this new report gives you direct access to what pages need to be fixed to rank better!

Ready to start showing up higher in Google results?